Joe Sansalone



Owner, Director of Performance Training

Joe Sansalone is a lifelong athlete who earned his black belt in Kuoshu style Chinese Kickboxing in 1996 from the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy. He was a full contact fighter from 1994-2000 and has studied Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. He began his career as a fitness professional in 1996, serving as the head personal trainer for the Columbia Gym.  In the 15 years that followed, Joe has developed an impeccable reputation as an exceptional strength coach, personal trainer and fitness educator by aquirring the highest levels of education and expertise the industry offers, and by enhancing performance, reducing pain, eliminating injuries and getting extraordinary results for the athletes and clients he works with. Joe has built and developed a loyal clientele and strength and conditioning business through his passion, integrity, ethics, knowledge, advanced methodology and systematic approach to training. In fact, Joe’s very first client, Lina Jarboe, is still an active member of the OPTI program. He  has trained countless athletes, fitness professionals, personal trainers, fitness enthusiasts and post-rehab/injury clientele, both young and old. His athletes and clients have seen both measurable and immeasurable success, and have continued to refer other athletes, family members and friends to the OPTI program. Many of Joe’s clients have gone on to become strength coaches and personal trainers themselves because of the education, results and passion for fitness he has instilled in them.

Teaching a CEU course on Kettlebell Training

Through the results Joe’s OPTI system creates for its athletes and clients, OPTI has developed a reputation among local physical therapists, chiropractors, athletes and his strength and conditioning peers as one of the top training programs and systems in the industry. Joe’s professional certifications and qualifications include:

  • ACSM-CPT, Certified Personal Trainer through The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • NSCA-CPT, Certified Personal Trainer through The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
  • ACE-CPT, Certified Personal Trainer through The American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • NASM-PES, Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist through The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • Certified StrongFirst Level I Russian Kettlebell Instructor (SFG)
  • Certified StrongFirst Level II Russian Kettlebell Instructor (SFG-II)
  • Certified StrongFirst Barbell Instructor (SFL)
  • Certified Functional Movement Systems Level-1 Instructor (FMS)
  • Certified Functional Movement Systems Level-2 Instructor (FMS)
  • Certified Nutrition Specialist through Lifestyle Management Associates (LMA)
  • USA Weightlifting Certified Sports Performance Olympic Weightlifting Coach (USAW-Level 1)
  • USA Weightlifting Certified Advanced Sports Performance Olympic Weightlifting Coach (USAW-Level 2)
  • Graduate of the 4 phase performance enhancement and rehabilitation mentorship program at the world-renowned EXOS (formerly, Athletes Performance Institute) facility in Scottsdale, Arizona

In addition, Joe attends hours of continuing education courses every year in an effort to provide the most up to date and credible information in the industry to his athletes, clientele and staff. Joe has developed the Optimum Performance Training Institute methodology, philosophy, mission, vision and goals through his 16 years of experience and study. He has attended all four phases of mentorship at the world-renowned Athlete’s Performance Institute in Arizona, and has returned to assist in teaching that same mentorship program in 2008. He has been an assistant instructor at several seminars for professional development and certification including the Functional Movement Screen Certification course with Gray Cook in 2007, The Russian Kettlebell Challenge with Pavel Tsatsouline in 2011 and 2012, and the Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification with Brett Jones in 2009, 2010 and 2011.  In addition he was the head instructor for a research project involving the FMS from 2006-2007. Most recently Joe received the great honor of being named to the Functional Movement Systems Staff as an instructor for the FMS certification program.  This passion for teaching has also led Joe to become an approved Continuing Education (CEU) provider for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) in 2007.  Over the past six years Joe has taught several workshops and seminars for CEU’s on Performance Enhancement and Injury Reduction training methods including a joint project on the integration of Physical Therapy Modalities and Functional Training with Manual Physical Therapist Karen Johnson, Understanding the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and Corrective Exercise, Understanding Optimal Nutrition, Olympic weightlifting and power development and several Kettlebell seminars.

Teaching FMS workshop

Joe continues to develop and teach new workshops for professionals in the community, allowing them to further their education in the field. In addition to professional workshops, he has developed and taught a 16 week mentorship program for strength coaches and personal trainers and has become recommended by Towson University and Prescott University as an internship provider for Exercise Physiology Bachelor degree candidates. Joe has also gained national recognition for his writing on the forums and has been featured on the educational podcast and the educational podcast.  Through these various avenues Optimum Performance Training Institute has grown into an elite system of performance enhancement training, injury reduction and pain elimination solutions.


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